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LAFAYETTE, CA-The City of Lafayette held its first hearing this week on the city’s Draft General Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report, which was first introduced ten years ago. The commission held its first public hearing on the new plan last week.

In 1992, the General Plan Advisory Committee was created to develop a general plan for the city. After two years of meetings, the Draft Goals and Policies document was published. For the next four years, the city conducted land-use inventories, background studies and data collection in preparation for the plan update and Environmental Report.

Finally, in 1998, the city published the first General Plan, after hiring a consultant to assist city staff in the comprehensive update process. Still, it would be another two years before the city council conducted public meetings to gather opinions and recommendations. It was then passed on to the planning commission.

The planning commission made a series of changes to the first draft and accompanying land-use map. The city council approved a revised draft Environmental Impact Report in 2002 in order to include these changes. This summer—ten years after the advisory committee was formed—the most recent draft General Plan and the revised Environmental Impact Report were submitted to commissions, civic groups and public agencies.

According to city officials, the latest draft General Plan will establish new guidelines for land use in Lafayette. A new land-use designation, known as “Rural Residential”, will replace “Open Space” as the underlying district for the Low Density Residential zoning district. It will also establish a maximum allowable density in each land-use district, as opposed to a range of densities.

In addition, the city will continue to preserve and conserve open space, including scenic views, hillside areas and natural resources, prohibiting further development in many areas of the city. The city plans to preserve its existing housing stock and provisions for affordable housing, concentrating on preserving the semi-rural character of the city. The city will encourage the development of multi-family and mixed-use projects in downtown Lafayette.

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